When new acquaintances learn that I am a domain investor, one of the first questions I am frequently asked by those who own businesses is, “can you look at my website?” People might not understand exactly what I do, but many they assume it’s website related, and I have found that many small business owners aren’t completely content with their web businesses and think I may be able to help.
Since I am not an SEO expert nor am I one to judge the creativity of someone else, I frequently feel a bit helpless when I check out their site. I’ve given small tips that are SEO basics, but it’s difficult to tell a small business owner that I think he should spend $xx,xxx on his category defining domain name, because it’s unaffordable for many, and for others, they have no interest in expanding their business outside of the local market.
That said, I always felt guilty not being able to offer some good advice until recently when I realized I did know something important that many business owners don’t already know. Google Local is a fantastic way to reach potential customers looking for a type of business in a particular area. Google Local results are the listings you see next to the map at the top of the results page when searching for some geo keyword listings.
I’ve found that many people don’t know how to get listed there, and they really appreciate this tidbit of knowledge. It’s easy to sign up for a listing on the Google Local page, and a business can get listed in several categories. This free listing is especially beneficial for small companies because they can compete with the largest businesses in the area.
For domainers that are developing, I also discovered something of interest. I’ve learned that Google tends to consider subdomains as separate websites.This means that a website can have multiple listings on Google Local, which would be beneficial in smaller markets where there is less competition. Imagine a market with 3 hotels, and 10 listings, with the other 7 being for hotel booking sites.
I discovered that there is at least one company who signed up with Google Local under a variety of subdomains for a city and it has several listings, with all subdomains forwarding to one primary website. For example, they have set up subdomains like BostonSpaHotels.xyzdomainname.com, BostonResortHotels.xyzdomainname.com…etc. I think this is a brilliant idea for the hotel pages since these leads can be converted using a hotel booking widget from affiliates such as WCT or IAN, but it could also be used for other directory sites – and the only real cost is the set up time.
I think Google Local is a great tool and should be used by all small businesses and websites to increase their reach.